Apple working on eliminating the Home button on iPhone, iPad, sources say

“Apple is internally developing touch and display driver integration (TDDI) single-chip solutions for its iPhones, according to sources in Taiwan’s IC design industry,” Cage Chao and Jessie Shen report for DigiTimes.

“The TDDI single-chip solutions will also come with integrated fingerprint sensors, said the sources,” Chao and Shen report. “The integrated design would fit into future iPhone designs – models with ultra-thin and ultra-narrow displays, and with a whole plane design eliminating the Home button.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The removal of the physical Home button would allow Jony Ive and team to explore some interesting new avenues.

26 Comments

  1. My only concern with that is how users will be able to reset their devices if the screen locks up ?

    So long as there’s a reliable and workable solution for resetting, I’m happy to lose the Home button.

      1. I did, twice (with one iPhone 5, and with an iPad Air). You hold power and home long enough for the device to completely initialize, wiping out everything. That is the only way to cold-boot an iOS device.

        With the new pressure-sensitive displays, replacing the physical home button with a virtual one on the display shouldn’t be a major problem for cold-boot reset functionality.

      2. 1. Reset / erasure is needed if Phone is sold. In some families, even a donation of any phone (iOS or Android) may require certain security operations.

        2. If by some chance, there is malware inside a phone, some people (such as myself) would feel better that this option is there. Conversely, if this option were removed, I would be annoyed that Apple does not respect the wishes of me and users like me.

      3. Some people are lucky and some aren’t. I got my 5s with iOS 7 installed. iOS 7 was a mess until 7.1.1, requiring almost daily hard resets and a complete erase and restore about once every 3-4 weeks. Once it even required that I let the phone discharge to the point that it shut itself down. This is the equivalent of removing the battery. 7.1.1 cured most problems and 7.1.2 and 8.x have been more quirky than buggy.

        I was quite concerned about the possible loss of a way to do a hard reset.

    1. The forcetouch comes to help here. Apple will take the best of what they have into future device. However, I don’t expect Apple to be too quick to make the change in mid 2 years cycle so maybe for iPhone 7 giving apple time to fully implement Forcetouch on ipone6s.

  2. Off-topic but the Johnny Ive comment lets me bring up a design problem with Apple Pay. Retailers may ask for the last 4 or 5 digits of the Device Account Number, which is located in the Apple Watch or Passbook app. Easily done for iP 6 or iP6+ users, but I use the narrower iPhone 5s and Apple Watch – also an authorized combo. On the 5s, a design decision about the font and how to fit the narrower screen truncates the DAN so only one digit is shown.
    Only 5s & watch users have this issue, but the type and font designs should be looked at.
    Thanks for looking at this somewhat OT post.

    1. On an even farther topic, once critical mass of users and retailers is achieved, Apple will have to start forcing retailers to NOT demand ANY additional information form ApplePay users. With your fingerprint as your authentication method, there is really no point in asking the user for something else (signing the pad, providing some numbers or codes, whatever).

      I don’t have ApplePay yet (not yet supported by Discover Card), but from what I’ve heard, there are many retailers that demand some additional information from ApplePay customers before completing transaction. Whatever the reasoning behind these requirements, it makes absolutely no sense from the security angle (or from any other angle, for that matter). It is literally impossible for anyone to ‘impersonate’ my own fingerprint. There is simply NOTHING that they could ask me that could prove more conclusively that I am who I claim to be. It is just absurd and unnecessary. After a suitable initial period, Apple should really amend their agreement with retailers and demand that fingerprint be the ONLY authentication required for the transaction and NO other data be required form the customer to complete the transaction. After all, the most significant visible advantage of ApplePay is the simplicity of the payment process.

      1. I use ApplePay as often as possible – I would estimate I use it at least once daily. I have NEVER been asked for any form of additional information when using it from either my iPhone 6+ or my AppleWATCH.

      2. I have used Apple Pay at Subway, McDonalds, Circle K, Walgreens, Toys R Us, and a local specialty grocery. Not once have I ever been asked for additional information after I used my phone to pay.

        I think what might be going on is that there are still some retailers out there (Best Buy comes to mind) that will ask you for your credit card after you swipe it. It’s stupid and inefficient and kinda defeats the whole purpose of self-swiping. Those retailers may be trying to adapt their (again, ridiculous) credit card procedures to the new wireless phone paradigm.

        ——RM

    2. Should retailers be asking for the last 4 or 5 digits of the Device Account Number? Should you provide it if they do? Is this a violation of the Apple Pay process?

      I would like to hear more about this DAN situation…

  3. Remember boys and girls, always keep in mind the source of the rumor: DigiTimes.

    We all love to dream big. But when I read a sexy rumor and DigiTimes in the same sentence, I think of a repeated cover page headline on too many breathless editions of Popular Mechanics: “Flying cars!!!!”

    Hell, they could be right. For once. But after years of reading far too many rumors that didn’t pan out, I’ve grown skeptical (LiquidMetal, ad nauseum). I’d rather be surprised. But I won’t bet the farm on anything hyped by a Taiwanese website with a checkered record of (in)accuracy.

    1. I was just going to say the same thing. People, it is DigiTimes. Their track record is rotten. I don’t know why MDN continues to cover their foolish reports.

    2. I’ve said it before …

      Until someone from Apple is standing on a stage telling me how this works, when I can buy it, and how much I’ll have to pay for it – I don’t believe it.

      Can I envision a day when there is no home button, that it is somehow replaced by a “virtual home button” that is part of the screen – sure. But I can also envision 3D holographic displays being used on an iPhone as well …

      The problem I see for removing the home button, is the finger ID tech. Having the finger print read through an active display seems problematic. The other option of adding a finger print reader elsewhere on the device (the back) doesn’t seem very “Apple like”.

  4. Every times I see DigiTimes as a source without a warning about their unreliability, I think to myself “Damn! MDN is trying to punk us again!”

    These guys are like The Onion or Clickhole, but without the funny part.

  5. The home button is simple and intuitive. And Apple, once again, is changing something that works perfectly well just for the sake of change. Stop it dammit!

  6. The single physical home button made paved way for simplicity and instinctive usage of all ages. The system was dumbed down yet powerful. And though it felt outdated by all the jazzy features and illogical side swiping Android chose to take – there really was no threat to change things. Specially the sterilization of enriched iconology that came from OSX. Hence, there is no reason what so ever to remove the home button. Specially when such invested time was designed around the ergonomics of a round home button, that arrived with a biometric scanner tied to a fantastic pay system. Is Apple is on a path to screwing things up big time? There is no need for a Pro level iPad… if needed use a PowerBook Pro. Things are getting out of hand. Okay the market is greater for iOS, Apple earns more here… again its no reason to kill off the other great things at Apple. If so, Apple just make THREE fantastical sized iPhones. A 17 inch Tablet Phone, A 10 inch Tablet Phone and a 6 inch mini Tablet Phone. And all pro level forget all other Apple computers and OS X… nah… that is stupid right. So is all this talk about a button.

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